Biden vs. Bork, 1988: Democrats Smear a SCOTUS Nominee

Editor’s note: this article originally appeared in the May 1988 print edition of Crisis. It has been edited for brevity. Many people have asked me what it was like to live through the nomination and hearings of my husband, Robert Bork. I usually answer that it was like being besieged in a battle where the reinforcements [...]

The Ultimate Ballfield

Major League Baseball has retired the number 42, in honor of Jackie Robinson, the man who broke the color line and opened up that institution to all Americans.  Justly has the league set aside the anniversary of this event as Jackie Robinson Day, when all players on all teams wear his number. Much has been [...]

Life, Like Baseball, Demands Order

Baseball, it should never be forgotten, is a game.  But it is not just a game.  Because of the way it employs life and death metaphors, its analogy with human drama is compelling if not totally convincing.  A runner may “die” on third, but not literally.  A batter may stay “alive” if he fouls off [...]

Ozzie Guillen, Fidel Castro, and Baseball in Cuba

“I love Fidel Castro,” said Florida Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen to Time magazine. “A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that [expletive] is still here.” Guillen “respects” the Cuban despot. Guillen has since apologized profusely for his comments, which infuriated Florida’s Cuban émigré community—and for good [...]

Roger Maris and the Summer of 1961

Five years ago, I made the argument for Hoosiers as the greatest sports movie ever and lamented the absence of great baseball films. Hoosiers is still the gold standard, but a confession is in order: There is a great baseball movie; it ranks right up there in the cinematic sports pantheon; and on this golden [...]

Like Lambs

I knew I wanted him the minute I laid eyes on him. He was comically rotund, with round, dark, knowing eyes and a fluffy fleece. He was a lamb. Not a real one, of course, but a large stuffed lamb, an Easter decoration or a child's toy. There, in the grocery store, I stopped my [...]

Racing toward Christmas

One of the first Christmas gifts I received this year was a speeding ticket. For years, I have made a hobby of collecting verbal warnings for driving too fast. I know I drive too fast. I am working on it. And I am getting pretty good at smiling, apologizing, and offering sympathetic and yet entirely [...]

Mere Taste

At present, more rap stars have been killed than abortionists. I was sitting on an airport shuttle bus when I overheard two men in their thirties discussing the second murder of a rap singer. "People need to see that this isn't just about music," one said. I think I know what he means. Taste never [...]

The Box Score Nears Extinction

  Over the past few months, my MLB Nighttime Viewing Program of Choice has slowly migrated from ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” (my favorite sports segment for many, many years) to the upstart MLB Network’s “MLB Tonight." Part of this migratory process is directly attributable to the “live-look-ins” and significantly greater amounts of “live baseball” MLB Tonight includes [...]

King of the Closers

Every year, as the country works its way through the Dog Days of Summer, I find my attention drawn more and more inextricably to baseball. Perhaps it's because early July is about the time the races really become interesting, or perhaps it's connected to the weather. Maybe it's just a fortuitous combination of an increased level of daylight in the summer evenings [...]

The Galarraga affair: a conservative’s dilemma

So MLB commish Bud Selig isn't going to overturn that call and give Armando Galarraga his perfect game. What do we think of this decision? Sports media opinions are varied, both from pundits and fans. Me? As a baseball fan, political conservative, and reflexive traditionalist... I'm torn right down the middle. Conservative arguments in favor [...]

“A terrible story that just keeps getting better and better.”

Gallons and gallons of ink (both real and electronic) have been spilled in the aftermath of last night's Detroit-Cleveland baseball game, and the botched call that ruined Armando Galarraga's shot at the 21st perfect game in baseball history. Emotions are running high, to say the least. Countless commentators -- everyone from former players to former umpires to politicians -- have [...]

The Grunt Work of Grace

When my husband told me that he had hired a recovering drug addict to do some carpentry work in the house this past week, I wasn't sure what to expect. The man needed work, my husband explained, he came highly recommended by a close friend, and he could get the job done as quickly as [...]

The equipment bag goes in my trunk

Spring means baseball, and spring plus kids means Little League. And since I'm the kind of guy who presses down with his feet to counteract airplane turbulence, for me spring plus kids means coaching Little League. It's now my fourth child going through the system, and the sixth or so bunch of kids I have [...]

The Changing Language of Baseball

One of the things that has always fascinated me about baseball is the way it somehow manages to be ever-constant, yet also ever-changing. The general parameters of the game remain the same, so if I happened to stumble across ESPN Classic's rebroadcast of Don Larsen's shining moment, its connection to Mark Buehrle's moment last year would be immediately recognizable. Yet [...]

One Little Thing at a Time

My life is ridiculous. Do I need to tell you this, or can you reach that conclusion all on your own when I tell you that I am a homeschooling mother of eight who also works from home? Some days, the different roles I play meld seamlessly together. "Of course I can do this!" I [...]

Oakland A’s Baseball Star Enters the Priesthood

Matt Smith, writing at Catholic Advocate, comments on decision of Grant Desme to enter the priesthood. Desme is a rising star for the Oakland A's baseball team.  God Gets a Draft Pick January 23, 2010 By Matt Smith Grant Desme just became the #1 draft pick on the softball team for whatever parish he may [...]

Forgiving Big Mac

Burly, red-headed slugger Mark McGwire's spine-tingling pursuit of Roger Maris' single-season home run record was credited by many for returning baseball to its post-strike popularity. His head-to-head battle with Slammin' Sammy Sosa as they chased Maris through the Dog Days of 1998 was the stuff sports writers' dreams are made of, and when he finally broke the record (on September 8, [...]

Cursing, Catholic Style

In this Crisis Magazine classic, Ted Gioia says it's time for some new and improved profanity. He has some ideas...     Some years ago, during the seventh inning of a baseball game, umpire John Hirschbeck got carried away in a dispute with pitcher Hideki Irabu, the temperamental but promising New York "Yankee" from Japan. [...]

I’m No Super Mom

It had been one of those days. Or weeks. Or months, maybe.  Ten years ago, I had a husband who was working extra hours at his second job. I had a cranky, teething baby with an aversion to naps and an impending eye infection. I had a potty training two-year-old who was solely responsible for [...]

Standing on the Mound: The Virtues of Baseball

Don't tell me about the world. Not today. It's springtime and they're knocking baseballs around fields where the grass is damp and green in the morning and the kids are trying to hit the curve ball. -- Pete Hamill I once knew a woman who, when preparing the first fruit salad of summer, would lop [...]